Final update on this Reunion:
The family reunion that was "cancelled" was held this past weekend, hahahahahaha.
There were 2 aunts, and uncle and his wife, a distant cousin on my grandfather's side from Milwaukee whom we had never met and a distant cousin from Little Rock on my grandmother's side whom we had never met and seven of my mother's children with their families in attendance. That was it.
My other uncle who never returns any of my calls but communicate thru the other uncle, called this uncle while he was in route to tell him that "something came up at the last minute and he wasn't going to make it."
The other first cousins decided that since one of the main cousins wasn't coming, they wouldn't either so none of them were represented.
But I had said all along: Those who come would be more than welcomed. The event was cancelled for more than one reason, let along none payment by the family. Yet there are some die hard family members who still want to see each other and get together. Why make them suffer..So I had told everyone that planned to come that I would not do anything as far as planning for them until they actually showed up. My family and I had already spent $580 (+) on a reunion that was cancelled and we are not going to be reimbursed for it. Anyway, I had informed them that they still had to stay at a hotel and that I would be taking up a "collection" when they got here for food.
I also had begged my siblings to at least come to a BBQ and help with the side dishes. They all agreed except for my one brother. He and his second wife were the treasurer of the ill fated reunion and the ring leaders in getting it cancelled. He gave all kinds of excuses of why he wasn't going to be able to attend. Oh well, I'm not begging you either.
To shorten this, when everyone arrived, I couldn't get a soul to help meet and greet them. Everyone told me that this was my doing and that the reunion was cancelled. No problem, I met and greeted them myself. I started praying that the siblings wouldn't embarrass me on Saturday by not showing up. My mother also stepped in and changed the place from my backyard to hers. This after I have orderd chairs and tables for my backyard. Fine, no problem.
The guest asks how much I was needing from them and I truthfully told them $20.00. They cursed me (in a good way) saying there wasn't a damn thing I could do with $20.00 and besides the reunion was costing $35. I reminded them that this wasn't a reunion and if they gave me $20 I'd show them what I could do with it. They were amazed at what I bought with $120.00!!!!
Then the sibling showed up with loads of food and drinks and the thing got started. The one brother came over for about 30 minutes in which his wife didn't bother communicating with any of the other family member but someone saw her sitting out in the car (98 degrees) with my Uncle's wife. They are both known to be anti-social.
At the end, the cousin from Little Rock asked if we could end it with a family prayer and brother man brought down the house! Folks thought we was having a church meeting. So Saturday ended well.
Sunday, the Arkansas cousin left early leaving the uncle, aunts and cousin from the North to attend church. Afterward my mother had planned on just her spending time with them at her house. She asks them what they want for supper and everyone got quite. We had no idea what was going on. Finally the Uncle's wife tells her that our brother and his wife had invited them out to dinner on his own. Whoa!
Talk about division! They wouldn't come to the family get together but they went behind our backs and invited them out to dinner, separate from the rest of the family. This was wrong. They didn't even bother coming to the church services with us. You could see the hurt and pain along with the embarrassment on my mother's face. It was like he was airing our dirty laundry, letting others know that all wasn't well in our family. He didn't even bother to put on a show. Oh well, my mother tried to smooth it over by telling her sibling to go ahead and then come back to her house afterwards. They knew something wasn't right so they insisted on her coming too. Tried to get all of us to go but everyone else bowed out.
Anyway, later on this brother calls me demanding to know where was the money that was left over from the collection the day before. What? Excuse me?
He goes on to say that he was told by his wife that my Uncle's wife was upset on Saturday, thus them sitting in the car, because I had collected the amount we had asked for the reunion from each of them to buy the food. This Aunt felt that since the reunion was cancelled and they made an effort to come see us, we should have been the ones supplying all the food and not asked them to purchase anything. Somehow he also had the impression that I had collected $35 each from everyone as opposed to $20.00. That would have meant my uncle and his wife would have paid $70 and the cousin from Little Rock with a family of four paid $125.00. But I had actually only asked for $20.00 per Family and had only collected $100 total and not $300!!!!
Yet his wife had told him I had and he believed her, not me and called all the other siblings and told them I had pocketed money that I shouldn't have even collected. Sunday evening my phone was ringing off the hook with them wanting to know exactly what I had collected from the out of town guests, some not even asking but going directly into their tirade that I was wrong. Then come to find out, the reason the brother was acting like that was because his sneaky plans had backfired. He had only wanted the Uncle and his wife to go to dinner with them, not the other two aunts and the cousin. So now he was being stuck with purchasing EVERYONE's meals and the uncle had insisted that Mama attend also. Brother man didn't have money to pay for everybody. And since they had tried to be so hot shot and separated from us, he was too embarrassed to say he didn't have it, so he tried to get everyone else upset enough to feel sorry that the family had PAID me so much money that they would contribute to his personalized dinner plans. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!
Had that lie been told on him and his wife, he would be insisting on an apology. I know I'm due one but will probably never ever get it.
Back to the reunion. The two distant cousins that attended were actally representing both sides of the family. We had a McBroom and Thomas descendant that none of us in KC had ever met. The cousin from Little Rock brought a Camcorder and video taped each person, asking about lineage and their history. He will be sending me a copy.
Finally, the most important thing that happened:
The Little Rock cousin broke down and told us that he had been warned by many of our first cousins and some of Mama's sibilings not to waste his time coming to KC or to bother with us. He was told we thought we were better than them, anti-social and other things he wouldn't repeat. He was given things to "look out for" and told he would regret setting foot in our house. This from people that although they are cousins, don't know the first thing about us.
This is the cousin who said GOD bought KC to him in a dream and told him he needed to go depsite the fact that the reunion was cancelled. He called me and I told him to come.
Well, he tells us that he was being obedient to GOD and not man and that he was overwhelmed with thanksgiving. He told us that everything he was told we would do, we did the exact opposite. Everything he was told to look out for, we did the exact opposite. Every way he was told we would act, we did the exact opposite. He said he saw how even when the children entered the house, they greeted everyone with a hug and kiss. All of us greeted him and his family with a hug and kiss. My mother wouldn't let them out of her sight. We put him to work cooking with the men while we entertained his wife until she begged us to not make her laugh anymore. We kept putting food and drinks in their hands, our children and grandchildren took over the care of their young children who they only saw flying pass on the way somewhere.
He said that he would make a point of showing the video to all the ones who had warned him and ask if this was the same family that he was warned about. He was crying when he said this and said he was so glad that he was able to make his own mind up and wanted to give us a chance to make our own impression on him and we ended up making a dent in his heart that will be forever there. Now he is willing to be the host of the next reunion.
It's things like this that make a reunion worth all the frustration we experience while planning it. We can't do anything about the negative folks, the non payers, the ones who don't want to stay in hotels and the complainers. But if we are committed to the CAUSE, the REASON we hold reunions, GOD never fails to put a rainbow in our lives. My cousins' words, both from Chicago and Little Rock brough tears to all of our eyes. For so long we HAVE felt alienated from everyone else. They never came to any of our weddings, any event we invited them to and when we went to our hometown, we were basically ignored. To hear a FAMILY member tell us that we have touched their hearts with our kindness and love, that we have created an unforgettable never ending relationship and that they will not wait for the next reunion to keep in touch, but will make a point of staying in constant contact with EACH of us, is worth all the headaches I ever had.
Now I'm gonna take a rest so I can be ready to help the cousin in Little Rock plan the next one.
GOOD LUCK and GOD"S blessings to all the ones who are still looking forward to your reunions this year. Substracting the drama I had, I hope all of yours turn out as great as mine did.